Fireplace regulations in Australia
Did you know that you need a permit from the local Australian council to have an open flame fireplace in your home or business?
Fireplace regulations differ throughout Australia. It is important to contact your local council before purchasing, installing or using a fireplace.
Over the winter season, a fireplace in Australia or a wood heater is one of the most popular and cost-efficient ways for keeping you and your family cozy and forget about the chilling temperatures outdoors.
Fires are always enjoyable and relaxing, not to mention the warmth they generate. If you are planning on installing a fireplace, you should be aware of everything that needs to be taken into consideration before buying and installing it.
An open flame fireplace can provide a great source of heat, light and ambience for your home or business but the Australian Government has laws covering their use. Fireplace regulations in Australia must be considered before purchasing or installing a wood heater.
Those who wish to have an open flame fireplace in their home or business should not only consider the benefits and design of the appliance but also the fireplace regulations in your state and territory.
Australia has strict rules for the use of a wood heater to keep your family, as well as your entire neighbourhood, safe.
These regulations can vary between different states. There will be different requirements in NSW, VIC, SA, QLD, WA and TAS as well in NT and ACT.
So, before you start building a fireplace, you should learn about these regulations so that your fireplace meets the requirements. It’s much easier to address issues BEFORE you build rather than after!
A fireplace may be an important feature in your home. It may give you a feeling of luxury and even comfort. However, there is a lot to consider when choosing the best fireplace as it relates to health and safety.
The Australian Standard provides specific guidelines when installing outdoor furnaces and it is important to read and understand these before purchasing one. As well, you may want to consider inspecting the product even before purchasing it, as many manufacturers include safety features in their products that aren’t obvious on the first inspection.
First, when planning to install a fireplace, you must consider the regulations regarding the size of the fireplace as well as where it can be placed within your residence or business establishment.
You should check if it complies with Australian Standard AS/NZS 2918:2018.
Also, like any other appliance, fireplaces and wood heaters should be installed following the manufacturer’s guidelines. Of course, if it’s an open fireplace you’re building then best to speak with your builder or local council for more advice.
Good practice in the installation of the fireplace or wood heater goes well along with a building well insulated to avoid heat loss.
Keep in mind that, if a flue damper is to be used to reduce the draw through the stove and reduce the heat output, it may need to follow some specific regulations as well.
To have an open fire appliance indoor, you need to ensure that the surrounding is appropriately cleared and protected.
This includes a hearth, made of non-combustible material such as our clay pavers, bricks, stones or similar material. Remember, any combustible flooring or framing members must be kept at a distance from the fire.
If you are planning to build a fireplace, you must consider the distance between the fire and the surrounding materials.
The size of the hearth will be proportional to the size of your wood heater or fireplace, so keep that in mind when doing your planning.
A larger fireplace is going to pull more attention.
For a spacious room, an oversized fireplace is generally going to be the focal point of a room. If you want to infuse your living space with elegance and sophistication, having an enormous fireplace just might do the trick but keep in mind: the bigger the fireplace, the bigger the hearth.
Flues and Chimney
The fireplace you picked out is gorgeous, but will it be able to work well with the rest of your home? That’s a question that you probably didn’t think of before you bought the fireplace.
While nothing beats the gentle sounds and beautiful sight of a warm fire, burning wood fires can produce a lot of dangerous byproducts from carbon monoxide to toxic fumes.
Fireplaces in Australia require flue with a specific height above ground and roof level and to be per the size of your furnace to ensure the smoke flows out.
The flue cannot be installed near doors and windows to ensure the exhaust gases do not return into the room.
Flues and Chimneys should be installed in an upright position and sealed to prevent any smoke from escaping into the room.
Your chimney or flue needs to be higher and at a distance from surrounding buildings.
It must not be blocked by trees or any construction.
Always make sure you clean the air vents and chimney – Chimneys are a necessary part of using fireplaces that needs to be cared for just like any other vital component on your heating system..
And check the gas fireplace logs or fireplace accessories at least once a week- especially if you just got some new accessories, some magnets might be there.
Fireplace Use and Maintenance
The fireplace is an important part of a home. This is why it is highly important to make sure that you know how to use it and the tricks in maintaining it.
Fireplace use and maintenance must follow Australian Standards as well.
It is essential to keep your chimney clean to avoid fumes entering your room, you should also keep your fireplace in good order to optimise its functionality and performance.
In case of broken or chipped firebricks, Littlehampton Brick makes fire bricks! We stock our firebricks of which measure 230mm x 115mm on the surface with 3 different thicknesses: 35mm, 50mm and 76mm.
National Construction Code and AS/NZS 2918
The fireplace industry is currently in a state of flux. Updated standards and new technology have been introduced to the marketplace, creating both confusion and uncertainty for consumers. AS/NZS 2918 is an Australian and New Zealand Standard that sets out the requirements companies need to follow to be able to correctly install (the terms used in the standard are “install”, “safely install”, “assemble”, or “assemble safely”) and safely maintain various types of fireplace and offer advice on the testing of fireplaces.
Australia adopted the AS/NZS 2918:2018 standard (ASTM E119-13) for stoves for fireplaces and fireplaces, which replaced the former AS/NZS 2918:2004. The requirements are specific to the fuel burned in the appliance and describe special construction requirements resulting from the selection of certain fuels. In summary, AS2918:2018 covers the design, construction and performance requirements for solid fuel-burning stoves and fireplaces.
Installation of your Fireplace should always be performed by a qualified and competent registered tradie.
Also, there are many factors that will determine if you need a Gasfitter Licence to install your appliance – however, in most cases, it is likely that if the installation involves gas piping then you will require a licenced provider.
Download a free sample of AS NZS 2918 2018 Domestic solid fuel burning appliances – Installation
The new AS / NZS 2918:2018 – Residential fireplaces, fire pits and barbeques has been released bringing with it updates to both guidance and Australian Standards.
The biggest change is the removal of the ASNZS 3941:2005 certification scheme which has been replaced by a new regime under the National Construction Code.
Australia is one of the few countries with an official national standard for wood burning fireplaces. This standard is established for safety and energy efficiency.
For more details and updates, check the National Construction Code (NCC) and with your local council.